A SCARE at Christmastime was a stark reminder for Daniel Redman in the constant challenge his five-year-old son Jock will face throughout his childhood.
Jock was diagnosed as a toddler with Langerhans cell histiocytosis, a rare cancer that damages tissue and causes lesions on the body.
When visiting family in Torquay, Jock developed an infected lymph node in his neck that for Jock required surgery to remove it rather than antibiotics that would suffice for most children.
Through Jock's LCH experience the Redmans, a century-old wine-making family in Coonawarra, discovered Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute in Ballarat. FECRI was the only place they could find specialised work being made on LCH in Australia.
FECRI honourary director George Kannourakis leads immunology-based research into LCH to advance understanding of the rare disease. Researcher Jenee Mitchell has also explored how an immune cell Tregs were involved in developing lesions. Their findings aim to also help in treating other cancers and inflammatory conditions.
This offers motivation for Mr Redman to run.
Mr Redman will make the four-hour journey, from just over the South Australian border, to take part in Ballarat Cycle Classic's first endurance running event - even after the Classic was postponed three weeks due to Victoria's snap lockdown.
Redman Wines was a strong supporter and advocate for a FECRI wine auction last year amid the pandemic and has plans to host a major charity lunch for the Institute in June.
To sign up for the Classic's 16-kilometre run through Ballarat seemed a "no brainer" for Mr Redman.
"I don't cycle much but I don't mind running," Mr Redman said. "I saw this event advertised in November and I needed something to train for. It took me a long time to really get going - about January I started to get going seriously.
"I'm not super-fit but I try and do something healthy for me and try to support others."
MORE CLASSIC INSPIRATION
The Classic will also host its inaugural half-marathon stretching out to Bakery Hill and taking in a lap of Lake Wendouree. A traditional six-kilometre lap of the lake run and pet-friendly walk are also on offer.
Mr Redman said FECRI was really special to his family, not just for all the work the Institute was undertaking on LCH but also for the fact it was a regional hub, Australia's only regional centre, in cancer research.
"Jock is fit and healthy but LCH is something he will live with," Mr Redman said. "He's still doing regular check-ups, that is ongoing and will be until he can monitor it himself, essentially in his late teens.
"For us to be in a position where we can give back, it's really important to be involved."
FECRI scientists have continued to work throughout lockdowns in vital research, including testing for patients undergoing clinical trials and in sample collections from biopsies and pathology.
Ballarat Cycle Classic is on March 14. Every cent from registrations directly funds homegrown cancer research. To enter: ballaratcycleclassic.com.au.
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